The Poetry Project

The Brannan Prize

The Poetry Project is proud to offer this annual $1,000 prize for emerging poets in honor of former Poetry Project intern and poet Lisa Brannan, called The Brannan Prize. In addition to the financial prize, the winning poet will have one poem published in The Poetry Project Newsletter. The generosity and dedication of our interns and volunteers — often emerging poets themselves — is invaluable to The Poetry Project, and we are so honored to offer this prize, which supports emerging poets, in the memory of our former intern, Lisa Brannan.

Lisa Brannan was a Poetry Project intern in New York City during the mid-1990’s. She was born in 1975, grew up in South Carolina, and moved to New York to study engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. While a student, Lisa began to develop an interest in the local literary and cultural scene of Lower Manhattan. Her interests shifted from science and engineering to creative writing. She joined The Poetry Project as an intern in 1995 and helped the Project with event promotion and archiving. Lisa developed her writing by immersing herself in the world of the subjects and themes that interested her. Her work explored the role and experience of marginalized women, sexual dynamics, drug addiction, and other difficult topics. Lisa passed away on June 4, 1997, at the age of 22 in Atlanta, Georgia.

2020 Second Annual Lisa Brannan Prize

This year's judge is poet and former Poetry Project program coordinator, Patricia Spears Jones.

Patricia Spears Jones is an African American poet, editor, activist, literary curator and playwright. She is the winner of the 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets and Writers and author of A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems (White Pine Press, 2015) which was finalist for both the PSA’s William Carlos Williams Prize and the Patterson Poetry Prize and featured a Pushcart Prize winning poem. She also has 10 additional publications: poetry books, chapbooks and anthologies. She is co-editor of the groundbreaking anthology Ordinary Women: An Anthology of Poetry by New York City Women (1978) and editor of Think: Poems for Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Hat (2009). In 2015, she edited The Future Differently Imagined, an issue of About Place Journal, an online literary publication of Black Earth Institute, where she is a Senior Fellow Emeritus. Mabou Mines commissioned and produced ‘Mother’ and Song for New York: What Women Do When Men Sit Knitting which premiered in New York City in collaboration with composers respectively, Carter Burwell and Lisa Gutkin. She has had residencies at Yaddo, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Millay Colony and most recently a Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva. She served as Program Coordinator at The Poetry Project in the 1980s. She has taught at the Poetry Project, Poets House, the Fine Arts Work Center, CUNY campuses and Adelphi University. She is the organizer for American Poets Congress.

Submission Guidelines:

There is no fee for poets interested in submitting to the prize. Poets interested in having their work considered should observe the guidelines below:

  • Send 3 previously unpublished poems not to exceed 15 pages to info@poetryproject with “The Brannan Prize” in the subject line.
  • Personal identification should not appear in the submission document in any form. The judge for The Brannan Prize will review all submissions without any identifying information.
  • Emerging, in this case, will not be defined by age but by publication record. The criteria for submission is that the poet may not have published a full-length book at the time the prize is given, although chapbook publication is fine.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please let us know if your work is accepted elsewhere before the June prize announcement.
  • We will accept submissions from April 1 - April 30, 2020.

2019 First Annual Lisa Brannan Prize:

The judge for the first annual Brannan Prize was the poet Lisa Jarnot, who served as Newsletter editor during the period of Lisa Brannan‘s internship. Jarnot reviewed the over 160 submissions with no identifying information, and selected Will Farris as the winner for the first annual Brannan Prize. We are particularly delighted by this selection as Will, like Lisa Brannan before them, has worked as a volunteer at The Poetry Project since the Fall of 2018, and an intern since January of 2019.

Will Farris is a writer and visual artist concerned with language and poetics across and between artistic disciplines. Their work has appeared in conversation with movement and poetry by artist and creative collaborator Molly McLaughlin of ATTN: Dance, most recently in the presentation "Make it Up." Will has also collaborated as scenographer with dancemaker Heather Stewart on her piece "against hard air." They live in New York City.

Lisa Jarnot is the author of several books, includingBlack Dog Songs (2003), Night Scenes (2008), Joie De Vivre: Selected Poems 1992-2012, and a biography of San Francisco poet Robert Duncan, The Ambassador from Venus, published by the University of California Press in 2012. A new collection of poems, A Princess Magic Presto Spell, will be published by Flood Editions in the fall of 2019.  She lives in Jackson Heights, Queens, is a homeschooling mom, and is currently a Masters of Divinity candidate at New York Theological Seminary.

Read Will Farris's poem in Poetry Project Newsletter #259